Ireland’s Joseph Duffy dropped a unanimous decision to Dustin Poirier on Saturday night, in the main attraction of the Fight Pass prelim section of the UFC 195 card from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The Donegal native made a good start in what was a fairly wild opening to the lightweight fight. He seemed to hurt Poirier with a right-hand and landed a couple of sickening body-shots as the Louisiana native retreated to the fence. “The Diamond” fought his way back into proceedings, however, and secured a takedown later in the round. As Duffy fought to make his way back to a standing position Poirier also landed some telling strikes, including a brutal elbow.
Both men returned to the corner looking the worse for wear, as Duffy’s left-eye was badly swollen and Poirier’s nose was profusely leaking claret.
The second-round was all Poirier, as the former featherweight contender managed to score a takedown early in the stanza. From there he battered the Irishman with brutal elbows and punches, with little coming back in his direction. It had all the hallmarks of a 10-8 round.
The third and final session contained a number of dramatic moments.
After being taken down near the fence, Duffy emerged from a scramble with a hold of Poirier’s foot and tried to work a heel hook. The young veteran worked his way free, however, and eventually Duffy found himself on his back once again.
Not long after that, referee Chris Tognoni stood the fighters back up and a desperate Duffy pushed forward with purpose. He landed some nice shots, both upstairs and down, but amid the onslaught Poirier sensibly dropped for another crucial takedown.
Though his fate seemed all but sealed, Duffy did have one last gasp effort.
He worked his guard up high on Poirier’s back, eventually securing a triangle. It didn’t seem deep enough to finish the fight, but with more time he may have been able to work the submission.
Unfortunately for Duffy, the buzzer sounded as he landed a couple of elbows to the head of his tied-up opponent.
In the end the judges scored the fight 30-26, 30-27, 30-27 all in favour of Poirier, although the margins did not do justice to the competitive nature of the battle.
Following the announcement of his victory, a bloodied but adrenaline fuelled Poirier warned Rafael dos Anjos that he was “coming for the strap”.
This was Poirier’s third win in a row since his move up to lightweight in the aftermath of a one-round knockout loss to Duffy’s countryman and former victim, Conor McGregor.
This was Duffy’s first loss since 2011.